Aquinas wants every student to succeed as a resilient, independent learner who feels like he or she belongs. We connect pastoral care to learning very closely as, in our experience, students who learn successfully enjoy school and its benefits.
Aquinas College is committed to being a relationship-centred school with restorative practices at its core.
As a restorative practices school, we put relationships at the centre of our wellbeing policies and practices. Restorative practice is a strategy which seeks to build, maintain and restore the partnerships between students and staff. Of particular importance is the process of repairing relationships which have been damaged.
Restorative practices can be undertaken in a variety of ways from informal discussions to circle time right through to formal restorative meetings and has been used with great success at Aquinas College since its introduction in 2014.
At the core of restorative practices is the belief in the importance in hearing from those who have been affected by inappropriate behaviour or comments. The wrongdoer gets to hear how their actions have affected others and have the opportunity to rectify the harm caused and commit to improving their behaviour. Both the wrongdoer and the person affected are then able to discuss what can be done to prevent a recurrence. Staff provide support and guidance to bring about a positive and productive discussion.
Middle Years Pastoral Care: The Homeroom
Middle Years Pastoral Care is structured around learning groups. Core subjects like English, Maths, Humanities, Science and RE provide a group of students who study together for a large part of the day in Years 7-9 so the pastoral care is based around these groupings. Students have Homeroom each morning. The focus of these session is organizational skills and developing a sense of belonging and connectedness.
Senior Years Pastoral Care: The Mentor
Senior Years pastoral care is organized differently because the learning groups are different and students’ concerns also change. No longer are there core subjects, and the desire to succeed as a learner in Senior Years grows stronger as the end of school nears. Aquinas believes that at this stage students need a Mentor to assist with learning, to guide learning progress, often on an individual basis rather than just in the team. Students are allocated to a Mentor who meets with them individually to help set learning objectives, resolve any critical learning matters, assist with organisation and management, and deal with the range of concerns that may be obstacles to their achievement of their goals.